Matthew de Dassel
“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive and your joy will be full.” John 16:24
An exciting and adventurous renewal of Catholic Identity and Mission has been happening across the 46 Parish Schools within the Diocese of Lismore since 2013. Proclaim Lismore 2013-2020 continues to focus on building stronger Catholic cultures among parish school staff, parents and students.
A key aspect to this renewal is the Student Discipleship Continuum, a series of retreats and faith nurturing experiences from Year 5 through to Year 12. The largest of these, the annual SHINE Gathering, took place again in August. Over 700 students, staff and clergy from across the Diocese of Lismore assembled for the seventh SHINE Gathering which was held at St John Paul College in Coffs Harbour. The gathering brings together CSYMA students from years 9-12 and consists of two days of presentations, rallies, workshops, discussions, music, Mass and Reconciliation.
The presence of Bishop Homeming provided a highlight for all those present this year with a large contingent of Clergy joining him for the concelebration of Mass, while the launch of the home-grown Proclaim Lismore Worship Band indicated that the Diocese has the talent and commitment to produce quality contemporary youth praise and worship music.
Other highlights from the gathering included emmanuelworship; keynote addresses from Pat Keady and Emma Fradd; and input from the Youth Ministry Officers who are a part of the CSYMA Youth Ministers Australia network. An inspirational faith aspect was to see the Thursday evening praise and worship rally featuring lively contemporary Christian music, transition gradually into silence and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
The participation of students as small group leaders, workshop presenters, master of ceremonies, testimony givers, drama performers, multimedia makers, readers, and the welcoming party bench-marked the success of current peer-to-peer ministry. Overall it is a time to rejoice in the Diocese of Lismore as a movement of the Holy Spirit brings renewal of so many students in their faith.